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Wathen (R.W.)[Amateur film: Wathen collection: Greenwich Village, New York Snowstorm, and Coney Island] (ca. 1944)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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Amateur film made in Manhattan, New York City during World War II, showing a Greenwich Village street art exhibition, springtime at Coney Island, and Greenwich Village stilled by a snowstorm.



This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Producer: Wathen (R.W.)
Sponsor: N/A
Audio/Visual: Si, C
Keywords: Amateur films; New York City: History; Weather: Blizzards

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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Wathenco1944_edit.mp4 293.2 MB 
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Reviews
Average Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: cegaudet - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - October 18, 2014
Subject: Amazing footage - wrong year
Hi,

I was really enjoying watching this footage, particularly the Washington Square Arch with the traffic, as I just graduated from NYU.

When I saw the blizzard footage, with all the cars and buses stuck, I figured there must have been news coverage of something that big. This was probably shot during the aftermath of the Blizzard of 1947.

Reviewer: rikafilm - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - August 14, 2012
Subject: Clarification about sequence after art show & before Coney Island
From the 2minute mark to about 3 mins 40 seconds (after the art show, but before Coney Island) the film shows the following: The people posing near an apartment building are at the Castle Village Apt (now condo) complex on Cabrini Blvd in the 'Hudson Heights' also called 'Washington Heights' area in Manhattan. Cabrini Blvd starts at 181st St to 186th Street. The buildings, built around 1940(?), were top notch luxury with sunken living rooms, gardens, sweeping views of the Hudson River, Henry Hudson parkway, George Washington Bridge (opened in 1931) & Englewood Cliffs NJ...All of the latter are shown in the film. How do I know? My grandparents lived there for 40+ years. Funny how they show a view of an airplane because flights from LGA do pass over there because we used to sit in the garden and see the same thing many years later.

Reviewer: donwert - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - February 4, 2011
Subject: What War?
A delightful home movie, in beautiful color, of activities in and around New York City in 1944.
It starts out at a Greenwich Village art fair---where the art is just as dreadful and any in a modern art fair! Then we see a brief glimpse of a thoroughfare along the East River---almost devoid of cars---gasoline rationing! We then go to Coney Island where we see many soldiers and sailors relaxing at the beach. In the odd custom of those days, men dressed up to go to an amusement park---three-piece suits and ties to go to Coney Island??? Then it's back to Greenwich Village after a blizzard. These scenes would look depressingly familiar to snowbound Chicagoans tonight. All in all, a fascinating film---the color and clarity makes it almost like stepping back into time.

Reviewer: ERD. - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - January 19, 2010
Subject: A treat watching this 1944 color film of New York
I really enjoyed watching this historical 1944 color film of Greenwich Village,NY (Spring painting exhibit and later the winter storm) & Coney Island in Brooklyn. (Nice seeing the Steeplechase Park building, the Parachute Ride and the Wonder Wheel) It was like stepping back in time. I also found it interesting looking at the people of that era. Who knows, maybe some of my family was there. They lived in that area during those years.

Reviewer: Bill T. - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - December 4, 2005
Subject: Woo! Wonderwheel!!
I found this collection great for the most part! We first start out in Greenwich Village.. Was it Sunday? Who knows, anyways, it appears that the Wathens are an older couple. Each of them have come for the art, and pose in front of a lot of them, cheesing off the artists.(because they¡¯re not buying any!) Mr Wathen looks alarmingly like Harry Truman. I like his hat. We then take pose on a balcony. The woman there¡¯s corsage is far too big, The streets there look to be alarmingly dangerous.. Sorry these are just random thoughts.. Nice shot of the Brooklyn bridge..
Then we go to Coney Island!! Woo!! Who um, made the titles? Whoa.. a LOT of people there.. and most apparently have never seen a movie camera. Lot of people on the beach too, and they too have never seen a camera. Oh man, that fireman¡¯s blanket throw game looked incredibly dangerous.. One kid is launched WAY too high.. We see the parachute ride.. hmm¡¦ was that imported from the world¡¯s fair? STILL looks incredibly scary¡¦ Nice harnessing! (sarcasm) Hey it¡¯s the enterprise! Wait, no it isn¡¯t.. It sure LOOKS like it.. Whoa, what a train! Yawn.. the ferris wheel.. We go back on the street.. Man it IS busy there.. oops I said that.. Hey! Penny Arcade! Oh crap, the WONDER WHEEL!! That thing still scares me.. I shoulda gone when I was there. SAILOR CHANGING SOCKS ALERT!! Finally, the film focuses on a really HEAVY blizzard New York had. Cars are covered! Busses are covered! Streets are impossible to cross! Um, yeah. That¡¯s the extent of the 2nd half of the film. I¡¯d take more Coney Island over that anytime.

Reviewer: Wilford B. Wolf - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - August 18, 2005
Subject: There's A Riot Going On
Amateur films are difficult to review because they have no narrative, no cohesiveness. There is just a series of images with occasionally unintentional juxapositions.

Take this film for example. We start off with a pleasent spring morning, strolling around Greenwich Village looking at mediocre art and viewing the nearly empty streets around the Brooklyn Bridge. Next, in 1944, we wander a crowded Coney Island in its heyday. Saliors and soliders on leave, try to reenact their own "On The Town." We watch the midway and the massive "Wonder Wheel" before we are violently thrown into the aftermath of a blizzard around Christmas time. Our film maker films the city run at a standstill from their brownstone at E 10th and University Pl. Children play in a park and heavy equipment clear the snow. Fascinating yet meaningless.

Shotlist

TITLE: "Greenwich Villiage [sic] Artists Street Exhibition" [Greenwich Village, New York City]
This sequence approx. 50 feet.
VS Washington Square Arch area, man walking toward camera.
VS paintings and other works of art displayed on stands, mostly hung on building walls.
Men in army uniforms photographing art shows with movie camera.
MS woman in pink jacket, lots of makeup.
VS paintings, painters and artists, spectators.
MS Good Humor man working out of his ice cream pushcart on street (brief shot).
MS street artist sketching woman.
Courtyard of apartment building located on West Side of Manhattan near 179th Street, just north of George Washington Bridge. Gyp (woman), Bill (man) and older man in courtyard of apartment building. Man doffs hat to camera. Various CUs and poses with these characters.
View of apartment courtyard and buildings; flowers planted in formation; yard is clean and green. Pan down to show Riverside Drive, with very little traffic and pan up to George Washington Bridge, then along bridge in Western direction towards New Jersey.
LS, 2 men and 1 woman walking through ivied arbor in apartment complex. VS courtyard. [this sequence approx. 50 feet]
TITLE: "Springtime at Coney Island 1944" [Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City]
VS of Boardwalk, crowds on boardwalk and on beach, "Steeplechase" sign visible in background.
VS looking down from boardwalk at people on beach.
LS blanket-tossing on beach (several shots), looking down from boardwalk.
VS, MS of people walking on boardwalk.
LS "Parachute" amusement park ride, pan down tower structure. (People sit in little seats that are dropped from tower under parachutes).
VS ride seen from below as parachutes drop (good). A couple rides down and dismounts from car; he appears to be in U.S. Army uniform.
VS more people and crowds on boardwalk; "Boardwalk Skating Rink" sign in background.
VS amusement park rides; LS Ferris wheel rotating in different directions.
More crowds on Boardwalk (good); some visitors are soldiers and sailors.
SIGN: "Tropical Bar & Grill" at West 12 St. is partly visible.
LS "Wonder Wheel" Ferris wheel (large wheel).
MS soldier appearing to adjust his sock, standing between bumpers of parked cars and the boardwalk.
[Snow sequence, University Place and East 10th St., New York City] Color is faded.
LS looking down from building window, showing "New York City Omnibus Corporation" bus stuck in snow.
SIGN: "East 10 St." sign visible; it is at corner of University Place.
Lots of snow seen looking down on East 10th Street.
VS snowy street, showing cars covered with snow, pedestrians, kids playing in the snow, a surprisingly large bonfire set in the snow with trash.
Wall showing "Hotel Albert" sign painted on outside wall.
Church in snow (NOT New York City). Other winter scenes include:
Old tow truck racing down suburban street.
VS old suburb, people walking in snow and posing for camera.
VS stone walls and buildings, looks like a college or university campus but unidentified.
Children shoveling car out of snow; looks like 12-18 inches fell.
VS snowy trees and buildings, cars covered.
Washington Square, New York City, again: a few shots of adults and children playing in the snow.
Faded color shot of heavy snow plowing on street, and early snow blowing machine.

¥ 1:54- 9:29
Nice view from Washington Square (we see the arc in front of us). A double decker bus passes, and an older man dressed in a light suit and hat walks towards and then into the frame.

¥ 1:27:70- 1:47:60
Nice series of shots of a couple and an older man standing by fancy gardens (Central Park-?) which cuts to image of the same couple with an older woman. They all wear their Sunday best. They smile and walk towards the camera. Perhaps they are going to a wedding-?

¥ 2:48:39- 3:21:55
Nice montage of Coney Island in the spring of 1944. first, we view (shakily) the extremely crowded board walk, a roller coaster, and a sign for Oriole Baths. The same old man in earlier shots walks into the frame. Cut to a view of one side of the board walk (dense with people and businesses) and part of the beach. Cut to several shots of the beach which looks as though it is becoming crowded. In the best of these shots, we view four young women on towelsÑone turns and looks at the camera, and there's an immediate cut.

¥ 4:44:02- 4:55:12
Nice view of the ferris wheel as it goes backwardsÑevery seat is occupied. We can see the tops of people's heads as they walk by the camera. Cut to a slightly different view.

worth noting: Nice short images of crowd on the boardwalkÑmany sailors.

¥ 5:32:04- 5:56:24
Amazing series of images of New York City after a snow storm. Start with image of a bus on E. 10th Street (camera pans by street sign) which looks stuck in the snow. Several people walk by it. Cut to view of an East Village block blanketed by snow. Parked cars are barely visible. Cut to the top of an apartment's entrance covering.

worth noting: Nice image of Broadway facing Union Square under snow. People walk along the sidewalks. (6:47:25)

¥ 6:57:75- 7:19:03
Excellent series of shots from an apartment window of people below in the snow. First, we view two children trying to pull their sled out from under a snowy corner. Next is a great shot of a man pulling his child on a sled down the middle of the street. And finally an interesting view of the snowy street signs visible from the camera person's windowÑ10th and University.

worth noting: Many nice, shaky images of an affluent neighborhood under many feet of snow. A boy shoveling, a woman trying to dig a car out....

¥ 9:58:53- 10:20:15
Series of great shots of children playing in the snow in Central Park (?). They make snowballs and sled (adults pull the sleds).




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